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10 Questions for Jennifer Richter

- By Edward Clifford

The old couch cushion tipped you toward him;
hunched and skeletal, he didn't make a dent.
See how that could feel to him like pressure?
(His therapist, gently.) But (her quick glance,
his nod, negotiations with the god)
—From "The Underworld Also Swallows Sons," Volume 61, Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In elementary school, I wrote what felt to me like an epic poem (in rhymed quatrains) about a hero called Fred.  What was truly “epic”: it won a contest in my northwest Chicago school district, so I was invited to one of the Young Writer’s Workshops that Gwendolyn Brooks hosted as the Poet Laureate of Illinois.  When she recited “We...


After Us

Kids-In-Cages

- By Ward Schumaker

Over the last three years, many of the news items I've recorded in paint have seemed funny, surreal, or even unbelievable—but some were disturbingly sad: for example, Kids-in-Cages. Because of resolute news people and a few inquiring members of Congress, it was exposed that our government was imprisoning hundreds, even thousands, of families at the border. Kids were separated from their parents and housed in metal cages, living under rules like: Do not touch another child even if that child is your little brother or sister. How do you tell a three-year-old such a thing? (Taking into consideration that the workers and the children often did not even share a common language.) Because of inadequate housekeeping and care, many became sick, some died, and...


10 Questions

10 Questions for Alex Valente

- By Edward Clifford

I love my nonno very much. That's Italian for "grandpa." I love Italian too. One of my two languages that, for reasons beyond my control, is my only language: the one, the survivor.

Anyway, I love Italian. And I'm getting to know it, and to know it I write it: I carefully trace the letters of each new word I learn on any scrap of paper I can get my hands on.
—From "That's Life, Honey," by Gabriella Kuruvilla, Translated by Jamie Richards and Alex Valente, Volume 61, Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated.
The very first one was the werewolf transformation scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! In elementary school, in Italy, we were asked to...


Our America

A Fortunate Man

- By Jim Hicks

These uncertain, unprecedented times have given us all pause, so to speak. Even those of us who have the immense privilege of secure jobs, the relative safety of seclusion, and work that is, as we have recently learned to call it, non-essential, still have reason to wonder whether anything will ever again be like it was. As it always would be, we thought once, though we must now suspect that what was has become used to be. Everywhere we hear talk of lockdowns and opening up, of stopped clocks and new calendars, as if time and space really are one, with the needle spinning wildly.

Sometimes, though, we still get reminded of what hasn’t changed, what really matters. Funny, though, that losing a friend would be an occasion to recall...


After Us

Foxes in the Time of Coronavirus

- By W. D. Ehrhart

(Photo by Anne Ehrhart)

 


 

 


 

 

 

Never saw the like of it before:
four sets of railroad tracks on one side,
four lanes of traffic on another,
parking lots on either side, barely
space for bushes and a patch of grass,
an early April day, sun shining—
and there, beside the fir tree, a fox.
There, another.  Smaller.  And another!
Three, four, five, six!  Incredible.
A vixen and her six small kits,
the mother keeping watch, aware of us,
fifteen feet away, my wife and I,
but not alarmed so long as we stood still,
her babies tussling, tumbling, racing,
pouncing, prancing, chasing one another,
having fun, though...


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